Mars Retrograde-The Hero's Journey

Sunday, December 20, 2009 through Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“A hero, properly, is one who gives his life to something greater than himself.”
-Joseph Campbell

What is Mars Retrograde?
“Mars retrograde” means Mars is in the part of its cycle where it is traveling backwards from our point of view here on Earth.  When Mars goes retrograde, we are cast upon a symbolic Hero’s Journey.

A retrograde period of any planet is a retrospective of that planet’s themes.  It is a time of moving backward, perhaps of going back to pick up pieces lost in the past.  It can be a retrieval, a turning inward, a letting-go.  A Hero’s Journey is a life-passage in which we retrieve our own heroism.  True heroism involves courage, strength, assertiveness, but also gentleness and appropriate restraint—and during this journey we are tested, in a number of ways, for those things.  While Mars is retrograde, we’ll face many opportunities to be a hero in a deeper, truer sense than we ever have before.

How Are Heroes Made?
As human beings, we feel the tug of the heroic journey because each of us (regardless of our physical gender or age) has a hero inside us and that part of us wants to become immortal.  This side of us, symbolized by Mars in our astrology chart, is drawn toward conflict and righteous struggle as we seek to retrieve the lost pieces of our heroism.  We want to be assertive but we don’t really want to hurt others.  We love a glorious battle, but what’s behind that is the simple desire to assert ourselves against a worthy obstacle, sharpen and hone our battle skills and emerge victorious.  To be a hero is to have at our command all the strength, courage and fortitude that we need to contend with any situation in life and come out a winner.

How Long Will It Last?
Mars will be retrograde from Sunday December 20, 2009 through Wednesday, March 10, 2010.  That’s a long time—almost 12 weeks.  Plenty of time to have a few interesting adventures that will test our mettle.  During this 12 week period I’ll be telling stories from the adventures of Greek and Roman heroes who exemplify certain heroic virtues.

The Beginning and End of the Cycle
The retrograde period of Mars is just one part of his larger cycle, which lasts about two years.  This Mars cycle began on December 5, 2008 and ends on February 4, 2011, sparking a new cycle.

Six Tales of Heroic Virtue

Strength—Hercules
Strength is naturally the first of the heroic virtues and Hercules exemplifies it.  His stories overflow with his vitality, hotheadedness and even his sexual prowess.
Courage—Achilles
The virtue of courage is shown by the story of Achilles and his famous weakness (his heel).  Paradoxically, his is a story of faith in one’s own invulnerability.
Resourcefulness—Odysseus
The virtue of resourcefulness is best shown in the craftiness and guile of the clever Odysseus, for whom the Odyssey (his journey) was named.
Alliance—Castor & Pollux
The famous mythical Twins (who make up the constellation Gemini) are a perfect example of the importance of brother- and sister-hood, the ability to form ties with trustworthy battle allies.
Invention—Alexander the Great
Alexander’s story is a historical as well as a mythical one.  His slicing of the Gordian Knot reveals the power of creating your own original solution.
Devotion—Orpheus
What good is a hero without something worth fighting for?  Orpheus was willing to go to the land of the dead and charm the Lord and Lady of that land to reclaim his beloved wife.

I’m going to have a LOT of fun writing these for your benefit and I hope you enjoy the process fully as much as I do.

Mars, the Inner Hero
Every one of us has a hero within us, and that would be Mars.  Mars is the heroic, strong, courageous, overpowering force that beats fiercely in the heart of every human alive.  When we need defending, Mars steps forward.  When we get into a fight, Mars got us there.  Making friends with Mars, and being aware of the gifts and challenges shown by his position in our chart, is the best way to become a hero.  (Contact me if you want a reading about that.)

What Will You Do With This Opportunity?
Heroes are made, not born.  This is not an easy process.  To become a hero is to exert oneself and likely fail many times before the ultimate win.  This involves not giving up along the way.  You must be able to hope and to imagine how to conquer even seemingly-impossible obstacles.  The tales I’ll be telling over the upcoming weeks involve more than strength—they involve courage, imagination, intelligence and even love and devotion.  A true hero fights for what is right when that is needed and puts down his sword in peacetime.  A hero in modern-day is not only a warrior, but blends all these human qualities into one seamless whole.  To be a hero is not exclusively open to men, but to women also, and children too.

Naturally, this means you.  What will you do with the opportunities this astrological event offers?  Will you see them as opportunities?  Will you take up your sword and follow the flag of your inspiration?  Mars demands not just comprehension, but action.  Mars doesn’t care what you think or feel; he cares what you do.  And when he’s awake in you, you are unstoppable.

Mars is retrograde now.  He’s raised the horn to his lips.  He’s uttered a battle cry.  Will you leap into the fray?

(Click on each hero’s name above to read his story.)